Staff Communications Policy

 Although Firelake University Finland is a small college, with less than fifteen fulltime staff at present, it is still necessary to institute a staff communications policy, which aims to assist quality control by adopting best practice communication techniques.

Staff communications with students

  1. All student enquiries must be taken seriously and dealt with in a polite professional manner.
  2. All students who email the college should expect to receive a reply within one working day. There should be no exception to this rule. Staff should apportion up to an hour each day devoted to replying to student emails. If it is noticed that this hour is inadequate to deal with the volume of emails, then the principal should be notified in order that the matter can be looked into and resolved.
  3. If out of the office for a working day, staff should set up an automatic email responder informing students of when their emails can expect to be answered.
  4. For repeat emails on the same topic a standard, but up to date, email response can be sent. This may be in the form of: “If your email is about... then...”
  5. Unreasonable requests should be dealt with in a firm but fair way. Even though such an unreasonable request may be very common, it should be assumed in the first instance that each student is genuine, but ignorant of the unreasonableness of their request. It should not be assumed that they should already know such and such.
  6. If students become persistent then they should be reminded that their request has been / will be dealt with in due course, or that such a request is unreasonable due to such and such  reason. Should they still persist, then they should politely be asked to desist as there is nothing more that can be done. If they are not satisfied with this, then they should be directed to email the principal or student welfare officer to take the matter further.
  7. Students should not ever be promised anything, except in writing by a person authorized to do so. If a written communicatio to students already exists, then all staff is authorized to repeat the contents for students who are requesting clarification.
  8. All formal meetings with students should be recorded on a standard meeting minutes form. Records should include:date, attendees, items discussed, actions agreed upon and unresolved matters. Meeting minutes should be copied to each attendee and the original filed with the senior administrator, either electronically or on paper.
  9. The Student Welfare Officer should be invited to all meetings related to students or policies, in order that they remain well informed of matters, to be able to swiftly respond to student enquiries.10. Emails should be addressed to one recipient, but cc’d to all relevant people.

Staff communications with other staff

  1. All staff should feel free to, and be made welcome to, share ideas or suggestions with other staff on any matter. All suggestions should be heard without a guarantee of adoption. If the timing is inconvenient, then a later time should be scheduled to discuss the idea.
  2. Each week should include an all-staff meeting which has time scheduled to discuss concerns with student engagement / progress, either generally, or specific cases.
  3. All staff should be Engaged in such discussion so that all who interact with the student can be made aware of or raise any issues.
  4. All meetings should be recorded on a standard meeting minutes form. Records shoul include: date, attendees, items discussed, and actions agreed upon and unresolved matters.  Meeting minutes should be copied to each attendee and the original filed with the senior administrator, either electronically or on paper.
  5. Each week meeting minutes and other important documents will be added to the staff intranet system where they will be tagged according to topic, type and date.

Reviews

1. Marketing and Admissions Review Sub-Committee. Each trimester, before the Examining Board meeting, all
    academic, senior, marketing and j.palojarvi staff should attend a meeting to review what has just passed.
    The meeting agenda should include:

     a. newly enrolled students; their eligibility, engagement, attitude and ability.
     b. continuing students; their engagement, attitude and ability.

     The outcome of the meeting will be to agree where improvements in marketing and j.palojarvi can be made.The
     conduct of agents will be monitored through asking students about their experiences to determine what they have
     been told prior to contacting the college directly. All such feedback will be recorded on standard forms to be
     reviewed every trimester by the senior management and j.palojarvi teams. Admissions staff will be trained to
     raise any arising concerns with SMT immediately. Occasionally, FUF will recruit anonymous individuals to visit the
     agents to monitor their activities. Any complaints or concerns about agent conduct will result in an enquiry with
     appropriate action being taken.

2.  Dissertation Review Sub Committee. Each trimester, before the Examining Board meeting,  all dissertation
     supervisors, academic and senior staff should attend a meeting to review what has just passed. The meeting
     agenda should focus ondissertations students’ progress, engagement, attitude and ability. The outcome of the
     meeting will be to agree where improvements in dissertation process can be made.

3.  The Administrative Sub Committee. Each month all admin and senior staff should attend a meeting to review all
     enrolled students; their engagement, attendance and attitude. The outcome of the meeting will be to agree where
     pastoral interventions may be required.

4.  Academic Committee. Each month all academic and senior staff should attend a meeting to review all enrolled
     students; their engagement, attitude and ability. The outcome of the meeting will be to agree where academic
     interventions may be required.

Decision making

1.  Decision making should never involve only one person.
2.  All decisions should come after consultation with those affected by the decision and after senior management
     approval.
3.  Meetings where such decisions are discussed and taken should be minutes, and then filed with the senior
     administrator.
4.  Where possible such minutes should be made available on the staff intranet.
5.  Areas that particularly need attention include:
     a. Policy changes and new policies,
     b. Calendar dates, exam dates, assignment deadlines,
     c. External communications, including general emails to all students,
     d. Student interventions.
     e. New staff appointments.

This policy should be read in conjunction with the Committee Structure available here
(www.fuf.fi/CommitteeeStructure).


This Policy is subject to annual review
Last reviewed: November 2020
Next review: November 2021